Kilkenny charity cyclist Stephen Murphy named 'Inspirational Hero'

Gala Retail and Virgin Media Inspiration Awards sought Ireland’s unsung heroes


Stephen Murphy on his bike

A Ballyragget man haas been named an 'Inspirational Hero' in the Gala Retail and Virgin Media Inspiration Award after a nationwide search to uncover Ireland’s most inspirational people.

Readers will remember Stephen Murphy from a Kilkenny People story in August. He completed an extraordinary cycling journey to help raise vital funds for local mental health charity Teac Tom.

‘Break the Cycle’ saw Stephen embark on a 3,500km unsupported solo cycle challenge, travelling the entire coastal circuit of Ireland all in aid of Teac Tom and Mental Health Awareness. His aim was to raise €5000 for Teac Tom, supporting individuals and their families affected by suicide, or contemplating suicide. He successfully completed the cycle in September raising over €15,000 for the charity. 

“His effort was amazing and following him through his solo journey proving you’re never alone, there’s always someone to talk to with strangers coming out to show their support across his journey. Stephen’s message reached 1000’s of people and his positivity throughout his journey was just unbelievable and proves anything is possible if you put your mind to it,” comments a friend on his nomination.

Inspirational people from across Ireland were nominated for the Gala Retail and Virgin Media Inspiration Awards, with 26 inspirational county heroes being named from the hundreds of entries received. Each of the 26 award-winning heroes demonstrated how they have made Ireland a better place with their selfless acts and inspirational deeds during the Covid-19 crisis, and how they have gone above and beyond for others in their local community.

“This year Gala Retail teamed up with Virgin Media for the Inspiration Awards as we wanted to deliver a national platform to shine a light on and reward the amazing people who have become true heroes during life under lockdown and who are making a real difference to Irish society," said Gary Desmond, CEO of Gala Retail.

“2020 has been hugely difficult for everyone however, it has also demonstrated the immense community spirit that exists within Irish communities. Operating in communities throughout Ireland, Gala Retailers have seen first-hand some of the great work that people have been doing and we are proud to have been able to recognise some of these inspirational individuals. We were overwhelmed by the level of nominations we received and Stephen along with the fellow inspirational heroes are true examples of people who are making Ireland a better place for us all.”

Gala Retail has gifted €20,000 of prizes to the winners, with 26 county winners being awarded with luxury stays in some of Ireland’s most beautiful Blue Book properties. For further information, see

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